Among the news stories published in the last decade in the newspapers in Kashmir, some stand out for the volume of coverage, the involvement of people, the pointed criticism on the authorities, and the pictures that supported the content of the stories. One among these is the case of stray dogs and the threat they pose to the lives of the people here. If only the pictures that have appeared in the print medium on this issue were to be taken together it can form an album of sorts. The packs of dogs roaming on the roads, and almost taking the entire stretches of busy markets into control during evening hours, provides a graphic description of the fear that it has induced in the pedestrians and the people living near by. The pictures of the elderly people bitten by these stray dogs, with their mauled limbs, and bloody faces, is a chilling reminder of what the existence of these roaming canines have done to common people. The pictures of the children who fell prey to these animals can induce horror into any human heart. And don’t forget that we have lost many lives to this canine terror. Each time any such incident would happen, the focus would again come to the stray dogs and the inability of the concerned departments to take any action. Over these years we were told about a dozen different ways of getting rid of the stray dogs.
From sterilisation to pens, the public knowledge here is very rich on this, thanks to the official responses on this problem time to time. There were even some pied-pipers who caught the attention of the people for some time. But all this aside, the problem persists. We have the packs of dogs everywhere in the city. We have children and older people becoming prey to these animals, and none cares. The government has announced much, done very little on this count. The international laws and conventions related to the animals has made it impossible to employ the older methods, and we haven’t seen any new method successfully employed here. So the threat to humans stands and we have no defence against it. The only things that we, as a civil society, and the concerned department on the government side, can do is to stop throwing food waste into open spaces that makes these dogs thrive.